SXSW 2013 begins in a couple days, and we couldn’t be more excited. By “we,” I mean FSR founder, publisher and beard-model Neil Miller, professional interviewer and lanky ladies man Jack Giroux, and myself. We’ll be descending on Austin this Friday to take in as much festival film-going, socializing and Alamo Drafthouse food as we possibly can.
Of course we’re excited to see movies too. A lot of movies. And to give you an idea of what we’re most looking forward to film-wise the three of us have each listed our five most anticipated films of SXSW 2013 below.
Don Jon’s Addiction
Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut left critics impressed at this year’s Sundance with our own Allison Loring mentioning that the only downside of the film is the abundance of porn… something I’m guessing none of our readers or 99% of the Internet will mind.
Nudity aside, it’s exciting to see a promising talent like Levitt already working as a feature writer and director. A few years ago he made a pretty impressive short film to go along with the not-so-impressive Killshot, and if his talents behind the camera have improved since then Don Jon will make for an SXSW favorite. – Jack Giroux
On more than one occasion, director Joe Swanberg has brought a film to SXSW and seen it play very well. In this round of bringing his conversational flavor to Central Texas, he’s got a great cast, including the likes of Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Ron Livingston and Anna Kendrick, to tell a story about two friends who work at a brewery and might also be in love. The will-they-won’t-they story is part and parcel of the drinking element, or so one must hope. – Neil Miller
The festival’s closing night film brings back the writer/director team of Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij, whose previous work together gave us Sound of My Voice, an excellent mystery that played here in 2011. The East follows an eerily similar storyline, focusing on a young woman who is tasked by her private intelligence firm bosses to infiltrate an anarchist group who is known for attacking major corporations. If it sounds like Ellen Page is going to be joining the ranks of Anonymous with a side dish of the same kind of paranoia we got in Sound of My Voice, well… that’s about right. – Neil Miller
Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead lends itself to a modern update, but as wonderful as Raimi’s original film is,
the movie is a product of its time. That’s not to say it doesn’t hold up, but certain scenes could make for something truly horrifying done in a photo-realistic way. Based on the trailers, director Fede Alvarez’s realistic take seems to match the promise of a 21st century Evil Dead. – Jack Giroux
The Fifth Season
The seasons are thought to be as sure a thing as death and taxes, but in one small village that annual pattern is about to be interrupted. The winter bonfire meant to signify the beginning of spring fails to light, the newly seeded crops fail to grow and the townspeople search blindly for a natural reason or a person to blame. That and a beautifully overcast trailer are all I know about this one, but it sounds and looks fantastically ominous. – Rob Hunter
Grow Up, Tony Phillips
Local kid Emily Hagins’ story is one with which you might be familiar. She’s the one who made her own zombie movie at age 12. In the almost seven years since, she’s made a number of steps toward making films at a very high level, culminating with the premiere of her last film, the vampire romance spoof My Sucky Teen Romance, at 2011’s SXSW fest. This year she’s back with this coming-of-age tale, her fourth feature, and it will be interesting to gauge her maturation as a filmmaker. If her trend of growth continues, we could very well be in for a treat. – Neil Miller
Lisa is a day away from turning sixteen, but then again she’s always a day away. She and her family were killed decades ago, but while they repeat the day as if they’re still alive only she knows the truth. Her life as a ghost is further complicated by a girl who currently lives in the house as well as another spirit… an evil one. Vincenzo Natali, the director of Cube and Splice, returns with a film that I hope is as fascinating as it sounds. – Rob Hunter
Loves Her Gun
Another bit of local breakout potential comes in this feature from the live action debut of filmmaker Geoff Marslett, whose animated feature Mars debuted at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival to a wealth of solid reviews. In this one, Marslett takes on the paranoia-stricken world of one woman’s need for personal safety and wraps it in the unnervingly warm embrace of the Texas gun culture. Sure to be charged with social relevance, Loves Her Gun appears to be a wild ride worth taking. – Neil Miller
Already my biggest disappointment of this year’s SXSW is having to miss the only showing of director Jeff Nichols’ latest. After the terrific Take Shelter, we should all lineup fast for any movie bearing Nichols’ name. Thankfully Mud will see a theatrical release at the end of April, so if any of you are anticipating the film like I am we won’t have to wait too long for it. – Jack Giroux
Three college friends looking for a good time head to a party together, but while they expect drinking, flirting and maybe a little fornicating what they get is something completely different. A supernatural event of some kind triggers a panic throughout the party, and soon good times lead to end times. This one comes from director Dennis Iliadis whose last film was the surprisingly effective and impressive Last House on the Left remake. I have no idea why it’s taken four years for him to make a 2nd English-language film, but I’m happy it’s finally here. – Rob Hunter
Two friends on a road trip experience car trouble and end up stranded on the side of a desert road. Slowly but surely their frustrations grow and the two men begin to verbally jab at each other. And then the physical assaults begin. That’s really all I know about this one, but when combined with an eclectic pair of leading men in Josh Duhamel and Dan Fogler I find myself more than a little intrigued. – Rob Hunter
Neil LaBute’s recent commercial work – including The Wickerman, Death at a Funeral, and Lakeview Terrace – hasn’t been as satisfying as his own stage plays and subsequent directorial adaptations of them. While Some Girl(s) doesn’t see him behind the camera, LaBute’s script marks another honest, cringe-worthy, and hilarious depiction of narcissism portrayed this time through a strong performance from Adam Brody. – Jack Giroux
As we would expect from director Harmony Korine, the reaction to his latest film has been split ever since its premiere late last year. Whether the film is good or bad, it’s doubtful Korine has made anything short of interesting. Plus, he has James Franco making some bold acting and appearance choices helping make the film a must-see of the festival. – Jack Giroux
Filmmaker Hannah Fidell makes her debut with an adaptation of her own short film. The story follows a young, attractive teacher in a suburban Texas school who falls for and has a secret affair with one of her students. Drawing lines all over what has become a controversial modern topic, Fidell’s debut brings the local flavor with plenty of breakout potential. – Neil Miller
I saw Shane Carruth’s long overdue follow-up to Primer at Sundance this past January. I absolutely loved it. I cannot wait to see it again. – Rob Hunter
SXSW 2013 runs March 8th-16th in Austin, TX. We’ll see you there.